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Buffalo water quality testing one-third complete

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The City of Buffalo says testing of water sources in common use areas of the City’s 27 community centers, prioritized by where young children attend daycare and spend time after school and on weekends, is nearing completion, while the analysis for lead and copper at more than 150 city-owned buildings by the end of the year is on track.

To date, the Buffalo Water Board reported that source surveying has been completed in 48 buildings, with the goal of surveying water sources in common use areas in the remaining 102 active building by the end of December. Surveying and water tests at seasonal City facilities will take place before they are reopened to the public next spring and summer.

“The results of our initial tests will not only confirm the City’s water quality, it will also provide us with the information we need to draw up an extensive blueprint to test the thousands of water sources in all 178 City-owned buildings," said Board Chair Oluwole McFoy. "The goal is to hold ourselves to the more stringent, 5 parts per billion baseline, announced by the Mayor.”

“As I stated last month, when I released results of our testing program that included over 150 residences across the City of Buffalo, out of an abundance of caution, we are expanding our voluntary initiative to make sure all water we deliver is safe from lead and other contaminants," said Mayor Byron Brown.

"To that end, we have set up a system for residents to request home water testing through our 311 dedicated lead hotline and have initiated independent testing of all City-owned buildings, starting with our community centers, which serve our youngest residents, who suffer the most serious consequences of lead poisoning.”

On October 22, the Mayor announced the results from more than 150 residential water tests, which showed either no lead or levels far below the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion. As the City moves ahead with testing, Brown said it is employing a more stringent base line of five parts per billion, a standard employed by the Federal Drug Administration for bottled drinking water, as basis for remediation and follow up testing.

Preliminary results from community center testing have come back, with a majority of the centers showing no detectable amounts of lead, according to the Buffalo Water Board. Full results for the 27 community centers will be released in early December.

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The Water Board also has been working with the seven homeowners as part of a pilot program for remediation where residential tests indicated levels of lead exceeding five parts per billion, according to McFoy.

“New water service lines have been installed at four of the seven homes where lead levels registered above our City’s household action limit and we will continue to retest those homes regularly over the next year to rule out any contamination sources," said McFoy. "We are in conversations with the other three homeowners with the goal of making their water lead-safe.”

For more information, City of Buffalo residents can call the 311 dedicated lead line or visit the City of Buffalo website at www.city-buffalo.com or www.buffalowater.org.